“One Town. Two Stoplights. Unlimited Possibilities” Growing up in a rural SE Nebraska community, Brent was always bothered by the lack of connectedness and opportunities in rural Nebraska. At age 12, Brent started a small company that provided what he found lacking in a small town: computer services, web site design, and advice on really anything technology-relate. Since then, Brent, who is now a Robertson Scholar at the University of North Carolina, has founded and been on the founding teams of many start-up companies throughout the United States. His own company has expanded at an uncontrollable rate.
Brent’s TEDxLincoln talk will serve as both an introduction to the idea of reinventing rural communities and also the challenge for entrepreneurs and innovators to not overlook the rural communities for ventures like tech start-ups and social enterprises.
“And They Say Aging Isn’t Sexy”
Christie has spent the majority of her adult life in service to elders, with a commitment to improving their quality of life. She says: All of us are aging. Some face it with avoidance, some with fear, some with bitterness…and some with JOY. Christie, who serves as president and CEO of Tabitha, a non-profit provider of health care services for older adult asks, “How can we embrace all that aging has to offer? All the wisdom, precious memories and opportunity to leave a legacy? How can we look at the world in such a way that the aging journey becomes one we DELIGHT in traveling?” She believes part of the answer lies in soaking up the wisdom and discovering the love elders have to offer. She says growing older is a privilege denied to many. “Let’s not regret it; let’s revel in it.”
“Confessions of a High School Troublemaker”
Corey Craig was an eight-year-old living in Lincoln, Nebraska when he lost his father in a tragic accident and began “acting out and getting into more than his share of trouble.” Not until the eighth-grade did Corey stumble upon the one place where his rambunctious and outspoken nature were accepted and encouraged: theatre Class. Once unleashed, Corey began developing a real sense of his own artistic voice.
Corey currently resides in Toluca Lake, where is an actor, writer, producer, and comic. He has numerous television and film appearances, including Godzilla, Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, and The Guild. He produces Cool Beans Comedy, and founded Troublemaker Foundation, an organization that inspires youth to achieve their potential through goal setting. Corey’s TEDxLincoln talk revolves around three key areas that are crucial for youth: Accept, Empower, Achieve. His challenges others to pay it forward, and cause a positive ripple effect.
“Life in Chiarascuro”
With nearly 15 years of communication experience including university teaching, a senior leadership position at a large, publically traded company, operating a startup software business, a stint at several Nebraska ad agencies, and her current role in higher education administration—Jackie merges big-picture thinking with a knack for storytelling.
Jackie’s experience as a leader, educator, businesswoman, wife and mother—and her exploration of living a balanced life—led her to realize that the current depiction of happiness in the media and elsewhere is imbalanced. Jackie will share her personal journey, and her discovery that embracing difficulty, suffering, and imperfection—and seeing them as beautiful leads to a more complete and deep sense of happiness.
“Re-defining politics: telling your story and building community”
Jane is a mom living in rural Nebraska with three little girls. She has been a reporter for MTV, frequent guest on FOX and MSNBC and key advisor for “Thin” a documentary on eating disorders. In addition to leading a statewide organizing campaign on health care reform, serving as the national executive director of the Young Democrats of America and as the foundation director for Renfrew a mental health facility, Jane also headed up an AmeriCorps program.
She is the director of Bold Nebraska, and she believes politics matter. Now a full-time "pipeline fighter" working against the Keystone XL pipeline, she will talk about connecting your own story with the issues you care about to make change and change how people think about politics.
“I Am Not My Label”
In high school, Lily suffered a traumatic brain injury. With hard work and the help of her parents and a select few teachers, she was able to graduate, something she wasn’t sure she could do. Her own experience fueled a passion in Lily to work with individuals with special needs and now her entire life is dedicated to advocating and providing services to people with disabilities. Lily will discuss the stigma of disabilities and bring to light how those living with them are not defined by them.
Patsy Koch Johns
“The Gentle Truth with No Blarney”
As a little girl, Patsy Koch Johns fell in love with acting and over the years she has experienced the arts as transformational no matter how old or young, rich or poor, or level of intelligence.
Patsy is an accomplished performer, director and educator, who grew up in poverty in Grand Island, Nebraska, has had a teaching career spanning over 40 years. She taught in Arkansas, Georgia, and Missouri before returning to teach in Cozad, Nebraska and later Lincoln High School. She has received many honors including: Nebraska Teacher of the Year in 2006 and the 2014 Governor’s Excellence in Arts Education Award. Her leadership positions have included President of Nebraska State Thespians, President of the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association, and President of Nebraskans for the Arts. Patsy will discuss how the “gentle truth,” saved her and how she strives to pass that gift to others.
“Harness Your Spiritual History”
Shanti’s story begins with her father’s journey to the United States in hopes to create a better life for him and his family, the beginning of every immigrant’s story. However, when her father’s journey took a sad turn and he lost his ability to seek and provide a better life for his family, her grandparents and her mother were given the responsibility to continue that dream and create a life for her family. Shanti takes you on a journey of the wisdom that lived under one single roof, how she was inspired, transformed, and molded into who she is today. She will encourage you to intentionally pass along the wisdom and culture of your own family.
Dr. Vicky Vandervort
“Curing Learning-related Vision Problems: A Ripple that should be a Tsunami in Education”
Optomitrist, Dr. Vicky Vandervort explains what it is like for a person to have eyes that work but do so inefficiently causing the person to exert extreme effort to see. When this occurs, people, especially children, do not realize the drain on their brain. They try hard, but they appear to not be trying at all. She’s found that curing the “vision problems”, in most cases, ‘cures’ the problems identified as academic problems. “When the visual obstacles are removed, the child begins to excel in school, music and sports. Futures brighten. Self-confidence climbs and a new child emerges from the old, much like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis. The possibilities are endless.”
Dr. Vandervort, earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa where she majoed in elementary education with a minor in early childhood development. She taught in the Lincoln, Nebraska school system for four years. After earning her Doctor of Optometry degree at Southern California College of Optometry, Dr. Vandervort combined her two degrees and has dedicated her career to helping people of all ages maximize their potential in the classroom, workplace and their leisure activities.
Michael has performed for high school and community theatre productions since he was five years old. He spoke at TEDxYouth@Lincoln and was invited to share some of his story on the TEDxLincoln stage as well. He will be performing part of his Nebraska State Championship poetry program – a poem entitled Swingset by Andrea Gibson.
He hopes that his speech may touch the hearts of everyone who hears it, and that it may bring a change to how individuals view themselves as well as others.
Linsey is an advertising and public relations student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. On campus, she’s a member of the Cornhusker Forensics Team, Character Council, and Cather Circle, among others. She also serves as a mentor for the Teammates program. Linsey spoke at TEDxYouth@Lincoln in August, 2014.
In her presentation at TEDxLincoln she will examine misogyny and the oppression of women in society today and how the audience can move forward and ‘Be the Change’ in achieving gender equality. She strives to inspire and empower youth to share their ideas, stand for their beliefs and take action.
T. Marni Vos
Marni will talk about what it means to be an inquisitive tourist of your world. “Everyday, the curious are the lovers of life--flexible but not compliant. Curiosity is the seeker of innovation, the birth of possibilities the gatherer of colors. Curiosity is the music.”
In college Marni waited tables, “badly,” and delivered flowers, that is until the van rolled down Sumner Street and hit three parked cars. Marni, earned degrees in Theatre, Speech, and English taught high school before leaving to pursue stand-up comedy full time. “Like Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie, I went from town to town, city to city, honing my craft, traveling with Frances, my lovely golden.”
Marni was one of only 6 women in 20 years to have become one of the five finalists in the prestigious International San Francisco Comedy Competition, where over 400 comics competed. She has delivered over 1,000 keynote speeches in over 45 states, Canada & Cruise ships….”some to an audience” and has performed on Showtime and Life Time's "Girls Night Out." Comedy has now segued into Keynote Speaking, “the best combination of teaching and comedy…the best balance for me, I believe the best way that I serve.”
“Growing Food, Growing Community: The Example of the Hawley Hamlet”
Since 2010, Tim and his wife have gone from a measly little tomato patch to six tenths of an acre (the equivalent of roughly 65 yards of a football field). They have planted over 50 fruit and nut trees and two dozen berry beds, set up two chicken coops and two beehives, and now have 20 neighbors actively participating in what they call their ‘hamlet.’
They are growing food in the “Hawley Hamlet.” But equally important, they’re growing ‘community.’ And that’s a good thing. Because given the risks climate change and extreme weather are posing to our environment, we’re going to need all the food and community the city can produce.
Tim is a native son of Nebraska, born in Beatrice, raised in Gering in the Panhandle and for the past 37 years, he has lived in Lincoln. An English Major and UNL alum, Tim has spent most of my adult life involved in Nebraska politics, doing everything from serving as a VISTA volunteer to running local campaigns to my present post as State Coordinator for Nebraskans for Peace (a position he has held for over 20 years now).